Spotlight is great for finding files without digging through folders. It’s great with tagging. It’s even great for finding photos and emails faster than iPhoto or Mail.app can. It has its shortcomings, though.
HoudahSpot has long been my tool of choice for filling the holes in Spotlight. It adds essential features such as being able to search multiple locations simultaneously, the ability to files “similar” to an example with adjustable criteria, and easy building and saving of advanced searches. If you’ve ever tried to build a truly great Smart Folder in Finder, you know that the interface needed some help.
HoudahSpot 4.0 came out today, and it’s awesome. A new “Quick Search” allows advanced searches to be started immediately. The criteria editor is even slicker. And one of my favorite new features is “Snippets.” You can save a criteria or any collection of criteria with a title, and then drag them into other searches as you build them.
The new Info and Details panes are easy ways to view file info, of course, but you can also click attributes in them to add them immediately to the search as “Filters.”
One other major feature to note: Tabs. You can have multiple searches running (live) in one window. Nice.
Check out HoudahSpot 4. There’s a free trial, and it’s $29 US if you want to keep using it. If you like being able to find your files efficiently and accurately, it’s worth it.